The UAE UK Business Council hosted a conference focused on energy prosperity in the Al Dhafra region


The UAE-UK Business Council brings together business leaders from across the UK and UAE to drive greater trade and investment and deeper commercial ties between the two countries.

The forum involved presentations from ADNOC, PwC and HSBC with a particular emphasis on the significant investment ADNOC is making in the Al Dhafra region and the opportunities this creates not just for the energy sector but across all sectors.  Over 120 people from both UK and UAE companies attended the event.

Nick Cochrane-Dyet MBE, UK Co-Chair of the UAE UK Business Council’s Energy Working Group, stated

“The UK has a long history of close co-operation and partnership with the UAE and we deeply value the strong relationships we have built. The UAE UK Business Council is committed to further developing the collaboration between our two countries and events such as today’s conference play a vital part in this process.”

Dr. Saif Al Nasseri, CEO of ADNOC Gas Processing and UAE co-chair of the UAE UK Business Council’s Energy Working Group commented: “ADNOC’s downstream strategy entails a wide-ranging transformation of the Al Dhafra region, which will see its population nearly double over the next 15 years as well as the creation of thousands of new, specialized jobs. The development of the industrial complex and the urban areas will provide a significant boost to the local economy, as local contractors and businesses grow. Long-term and strategic partnerships will be a key success factor to turn this vision into reality. Today’s event is a strategic foreword to trigger the discussion and to lay the foundation for what is ahead of us in the years to come.”

The UK Oil & Gas industry has evolved for over 50 years and remains one of the most productive sectors of the UK supporting 300,000 jobs directly, indirectly and in the supply chain. Its scientific and engineering capability is recognised worldwide exporting almost £12bn of goods and services around the world.

The UAE is the UK’s largest export market in the Middle East and the 14th largest globally. Total trade in goods and services between the UAE and the UK was £17.5bn in 2017, a 12.3% increase from 2016. 

With approximately 5,000 British companies operating in the UAE and over 100,000 British Nationals living in the Emirates the relationship between the two countries is already strong.  Added to this approximately 1.25 million British Nationals visit the UAE each year and 50,000 Emiratis visit the UK on an annual basis, alongside many more who study in the UK.

Notes to Editors

The UAE-UK Business Council was formed in 2011 and meets twice a year, alternating between London and the UAE.

At its eighth plenary meeting in May 2015, the Business Council adopted a new target to contribute to £25 billion of bilateral trade and investment by 2020.

The Business Council has seven sector Working Groups:

  • Energy,
  • Education & Training,
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences,
  • Security & Aerospace,
  • 4th Industrial Revolution, Manufacturing & SMEs,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Financial & Professional Services.

Total trade in goods and services (i.e. exports plus imports) between the UK and United Arab Emirates was £17.5bn in 2017, a 12.3% increase from 2016.

In 2017, UK exports to United Arab Emirates amounted to £11.1bn (an 8.0% increase from 2016) while UK imports from United Arab Emirates were £6.4bn (a 20.8% increase from 2016).

Of all UK exports to United Arab Emirates in 2017, £7.6bn (68.8%) were goods and £3.5bn (31.2%) were services. Of all UK imports from United Arab Emirates in 2017, £4.3bn (66.8%) were goods and £2.1bn (33.2%) were services.

In 2017 (latest available rankings), United Arab Emirates was the UK’s:

  • 18th largest trading partner (accounting for 1.4% of total UK trade)
  • 14th largest export market (accounting for 1.8% of all UK exports)
  • 20th largest import market (accounting for 1.0% of all UK imports)